Tag Archives: Commander

American Legion Says Veterans Denied "Christmas" Cards from School Children

27 Dec interstate 80 94 accident

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Handwritten Christmas cards
from schoolchildren were denied distribution to veterans at the Dallas VA Medical
Center this week because they referenced the holiday by name, and American Legion
National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger is not happy about it. Neither is the
Liberty Institute, which has sided with the Legion in opposing a number of other
attempts to prevent free expression of speech and religion.

Also this week, the VA hospital in Augusta, Ga., announced a new policy that turned
away high-school students who intended to sing Christmas carols to veterans, as they
traditionally have in past years. And in Iowa City, American Legion members were
told they could not hand out presents to veterans if the wrapping paper said Merry
Christmas, a problem they solved by filtering the gifts through the VA chaplain.

The American Legion has asked VA Central Office for an explanation of why it appears
that Christians are being singled out for restrictions, especially when the holiday
honors the birth of Jesus Christ.

“First of all, VA’s decision to prohibit the delivery of Christmas cards that
mention Christmas is ludicrous,” Dellinger said today after Texas teacher Susan
Chapman was told Monday that her students’ cards would not be delivered to veterans.
“Second of all, VA has been down this road before, and recently. VA has been warned
through a federal court decree to stop denying freedom of religious expression at
its facilities. It’s pretty obvious the Dallas VA did not get that memo.”

When high school singers arrived last Friday at the Augusta, Ga., VA Medical Center,
officials reportedly gave them a list of 12 approved, secular holiday songs.
Unprepared to sing them, the students opted not to perform. “That’s censorship, pure
and simple,” Dellinger said of the rejected carolers. “Every Christmas, every
religious holiday, Christians are more and more often targeted for censorship and
restriction at VA facilities. Veterans in these hospitals fought to protect such

Chapman, the wife of a U.S. military veteran, has requested that the Dallas VA
Medical Center immediately rescind its discriminatory policy and allow her and her
students – and any others in the future – to distribute Christmas cards
that say “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” or mention Jesus. Writing to VA
Secretary Eric Shinseki and VA North Texas Health System Director Jeffery L.
Milligan, Liberty Institute set a deadline of Friday, Dec. 27, for confirmation in
writing “that Mrs. Chapman and her students may distribute cards that contain the
phrase ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘God Bless You,’ or that contain other religious
references to veterans at the Medical Center and at all other VA hospitals, and that
the holiday card policies of the Department and the Medical Center (are) brought in
line with applicable law.”

“Of course, for this year’s schoolchildren, it’s a little late, and that’s really
disappointing,” said Dellinger, who leads the 2.4-million-member American Legion,
largest veterans organization in the country. “VA needs to let those children
deliver cards to the veterans now, and those who wrongly banned them owe an apology
to the children, the teacher and the veterans who were supposed to get them Monday.
This is a clear case of discrimination on the basis of religious expression; the
courts have already ruled that such policies are unconstitutional. The American
Legion fully concurs with that interpretation.”

Indiana Deployed Soldiers Receive Christmas Trees from Home

25 Nov

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Indiana Army National Guardsmen from the 38th Sustainment Brigade received Hoosier-grown Christmas trees, donated by the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 13.

“It is always good to have a piece of home and the Christmas trees do that for us here,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Vedder, 38th SB’s deputy commander from Lafayette, Ind. “We just want to express a warm thanks to all those folks that made this possible and thinking about us this holiday season.”

The Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association has been sending trees abroad for the last six years and donated 300 trees as part of the 2012 Trees for Troops project. The trees were shipped from Indiana on Nov. 20, with a partnership with FedEx Corporation according to their website http://www.indianachristmastree.com.

“It’s a great show of Hoosier hospitality and patriotism of the Christmas tree growers of Indiana and shipping trees over here to Hoosiers,” said Col. Deedra Thombleson, 38th SB commander from Martinsville, Ind.

The 38th SB picked up the trees from the Camp Virginia USO. The USO received the trees to pass out to service members throughout Kuwait. The USO has been working with the Trees for Troops to spread the Christmas cheer to deployed men and women.

Keon Moore, the assistant logistics manager for the USO at Camp Virginia, said he enjoyed being part of giving trees to service members and doing “something to make you feel like it’s Christmas. That is an awesome feeling for us. We appreciate you guys being happy.”

Eighteen Christmas trees are being displayed outside the 38th SB’s work tents. The Soldiers will be decorating the trees for a little friendly competition among the sections. Each section was encouraged to be creative with decorating the trees.

Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., said she was ready to decorate her section’s Christmas tree and that the contest makes it even better.

“I think it is amazing. If we are going to be here at Christmas time we might as well have fun with it.”

“I think it draws them closer to the holidays and brings them back to their roots of Indiana. It will increase the morale and just seeing them smile as they decorate the trees. They are now playing Christmas music in their tents. It will raise their spirit and morale around the holidays,” said Thombleson.

The soldiers of the 38th expressed how thankful they were to have the trees. Sgt. Wolgan Ramos, administrative specialist from Van Buren, Ind., “I would like to thank the people that were responsible for making this happen. Our section is very excited to get these trees. The smell of that fresh pine too; it just really hits you and you really can’t get that smell around here.”

Indiana Army National Guardsman Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., gets in the Christmas spirit while decorating her section’s medical-themed Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The 38th Sustainment Brigade based in Kokomo, Ind., received Christmas trees from the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tina R. Eichenour, 38th Sustainment Brigade)   Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/803490/hoosier-christmas-trees-overseas#.UpQU2MSsiSo#ixzz2licG8bKn

Indiana Army National Guardsman Sgt. Rhandi Thomas, medic from Portland, Ind., gets in the Christmas spirit while decorating her section’s medical-themed Christmas tree on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The 38th Sustainment Brigade based in Kokomo, Ind., received Christmas trees from the Indiana Christmas Tree Grower Association. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tina R. Eichenour, 38th Sustainment Brigade)

Schererville Police Charge Joel Hill With Armed Robbery

6 Nov

Gazette Staff


On November 6th, 2013 Schererville Detectives filed 5 Class B Felony counts against Joel B. Hill age 19, of Schererville, In..

The charges included: Armed Robbery
Attempted Armed Robbery
Criminal Confinement (3 Counts)

The charges are a result of the investigation into an Armed robbery that occurred on October 18th,2013 at the CHASE Bank located at 1801 Kennedy Avenue, in Schererville, In.. During the Robbery the suspect approached the victims vehicle as they were attempting to use the outside ATM at that location. The suspect approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, pointed a handgun at the driver and took the $40 in cash that she had just removed from the machine.   The suspect then ordered the driver to attempt to make another withdrawal using one of the passengers bank cards. After several unsuccessful attempts to get money from the machine, the suspect ordered them to leave. The three occupants of the vehicle came immediately to the police department to report the incident.
During the investigation of this Robbery, Detectives were able to develop a suspect through confidential information and believed that Joel B. Hill was responsible. The victims were able to positively identify Hill as the person whom robbed them at CHASE Bank, from a photo line-up.

Joel Hill is currently confined at Lake County Jail after being charged with Burglary on October 25th, 2013 in reference to a burglary that occurred on July19th, 2013 in the 100 block of Seville St. in Schererville, In..

Any questions or information please contact:

Brian Neyhart
Patrol Commander
Schererville Police Department
25 E. Joliet St.
Schererville, IN 46375

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Sheriff Buncich Confirms Details in Lowell Murders

21 Oct

by Ken Davidson

thomas tj snow

Mugshot of Thomas TJ Snow who is currently in custody in Hawley, Minnesota

A Mugshot of Thomas “TJ” Snow’s arrest in Minnesota hung on the wall as Sheriff John Buncich confirmed the details of the crime previously reported by the Gazette.

Sheriff John Buncich held a press conference today with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, Coroner Merrilee Frey and investigators Leo Finnerty and Matt Eaton. The sheriff confirmed that the bodies found in Lowell on Friday were those of popular Morton High School teacher Clifford Snow and Joyce Snow. Buncich stated the bodies were “in an advanced state of decomposition.” As previously reported by the Gazette, the cause of death was blunt force trauma and strangulation. The bodies were identified via dental records according to Coroner Frey.

Buncich explained that his office received a request to perform a welfare check on the Snows on Friday October 18. When officers arrived at the home they noticed 13 or 14 newspapers in the driveway. Officers forced entry into the home and discovered the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Snow.

Sheriff Buncich stated that there was evidence that Thomas TJ Snow had been “in and about” the residence subsequent to the deaths of his parents. Buncich explained that later investigation revealed that TJ Snow had used his parents credit cards subsequent to their deaths. When asked about the types of purchases Buncich responded “hotels, stores, etc.” Buncich said authorities would like to speak with anyone who may have had contact with TJ Snow during the period October 4-18.

An all points bulletin was issued for TJ Snow and a white Chevy HHR belonging to the deceased parents. Snow was arrested in Hawley, Minnesota on Saturday October 19. TJ attempted to flee from police after a routine traffic stop. Buncich described the apprehension as a “short pursuit after which Snow was taken into custody.” Officers traveled to Minnesota to speak with Snow. Buncich stated Snow was talking but had not confessed. He was scheduled to make a court appearance in Minnesota today.

Thomas Snow is officially a suspect in the deaths of his parents. He has not yet been charged. When asked about the procedures going forward, Prosecutor Bernard Carter explained that there are two warrants for the arrest of TJ Snow. Prosecutors in Newton County Indiana allege that Snow robbed a gas station on Route 10 on Thursday night. Additionally, there is a felony warrant for Thomas J. Snow for fleeing police in Lake County, Indiana that will allow officials here to hold him once he is released from Newton County.

Buncich credited Commander Eaton, the crime scene investigation staff, and the office of the coroner and prosecutor for working continuously since Friday to solve this case. When asked if there were other suspects in the case Buncich replied “No, not at this time.”

Buncich stressed that this is an isolated incident of domestic abuse and should not cause concern in the community. Thomas TJ Snow has not been charged and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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